The understanding of history can be advanced only by the combination or alternation, of analysis and synthesis. Detailed research and generalizing survey are not antiethical but complementary. For a long time, however, the specialist has reigned supreme in our schools. The need is now, surely, for a return to synoptic writing. The present work was undertaken to supply the need of a synthesis. It is a map of a large region, not a geological chart of a square mile or the plan of a single city. Its value, if any, lies in its view of the interrelations of large tracts of social and intellectual life, not in the intensive investigation of narrow fields.
Table of Contents
1. The background and the Character of the Enlightenment 2. Newtonian Science 3. Linnean Science 4. The Place of Science in Eighteenth-Century Thought 5. Philosophy 6. Political and Economic Theory 7. Historiography 8. The Modern Prose Style 9. Poetry and Drama 10. The Propaganda of the Enlightenment 11. Education 12. Religious Reaction and Revival 13. Deism and Skepticism 14. The Decline of Superstition and Persecution 15. Art and Music Bibliography Index
Preserved Smith taught at Cornell University as a member of the Department of History from 1923 to 1941.